Brooklyn, NY—Darius Maddox took the inbounds pass with 6.7 ticks left in overtime Wednesday night, crossed over dribble to create a little space with three seconds to go. He let a long trey with a few ticks before the buzzer sounded, nothing but silk.
The buzzer-beater in overtime held off the rally by Clemson (17-16) for a 76-75 victory in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament on Wednesday at the Barclays Center.
“We’re luckier than hell,” Virginia Tech Coach Mike Young said after the win. “We’re just lucky. That’s basketball. The last play right there, he caught it, got in the air and banged a big shot, and we go home happy.”
Keve Aluma, who is one of only three Hokie players to earn all-ACC honors multiple times — joining Malcolm Delaney (2009-11) and Erick Green (2012-13) — finished with 19 points and 10 boards. Murphy scored 15 on 5-of-8 shooting from 3-point range. Mutts had 10 rebounds to go with nine points. Maddox had eight points off the bench.
Clemson, the 10th seed, trailed 43-32 at the break and 57-45 with 9:15 remaining in the game after a deep three by Tech’s Aluma. The Tigers fought back to take a 62-61 lead on Nick Honor’s 3-pointer with 1:13 left. After swapping baskets, Storm Murphy drained a 3-pointer on the next possession to put VT (20-12) up 66-64, but PJ Hall got Clemson even on a hook shot with eight seconds to go. Murphy missed a corner three to send the game to OT.
Neither team scored in overtime until Aluma hit a trey with 2:58 left and — following a 3-pointer by Clemson’s Al-Amir Dawes— added a three-point play to put VT up 72-69 at the 2:19 mark. Hunter Tyson had a layup, Hall made two free throws and the Tigers led 73-72 with 1:19 remaining on the clock.
Dawes made 1 of 2 free throws for a 74-72 Tigers lead. Justyn Mutts had a chance to knot the contest for the Hokies with eight seconds left, but missed the first of two free throws from the charity stripe. Hall missed an opportunity to push Clemson’s lead to three points by making 1 of 2 foul shots, setting the gamer for Maddox.
Maddox is a 53.1% shooter from downtown this season, the highest percentage in the nation among players who averaged at least one three-point attempt per game. He finished the game with eight points off the bench, while Virginia Tech’s Aluma led all players with 19 points and 10 boards.
“That was kind of our problem early in the season — when teams would make a run, we wouldn’t be able to close the game,” said Murphy, who scored 15 points and made 5 of 9 three-pointers. “We were talking to each other a lot, stay connected, stay on the same page and not panic.”
Hall scored 16 points to lead Clemson. Hunter hit two 3-pointers and scored 13. Tyson and David Collins both scored 12.
“I’m confident along with the rest of my guys,” said Maddox. We’re all confident shooting. We shoot a lot. I love the feeling. It’s amazing — especially to win the game in an atmosphere like this, it’s great.”
No. 7 seed Virginia Tech advances to play No. 2 seed Notre Dame in the quarterfinals on Thursday. The Hokies beat the Fighting Irish 79-73 on Jan. 15 in their only meeting of the season.